The International Foundation for Arts and Culture

Sir Tim Lankester

Greetings from IFAC UK Chairman Sir Tim Lankester

IFAC UK and its partner organisations in Japan, the USA and Australia are the brain-child of the remarkable Japanese philanthropist and artist Dr Haruhisa Handa. As a result of his imagination, inspiration and generosity, IFAC has been able to support a range of wonderful arts projects across the world.

Dr Handa's philosophy is that access to the arts is essential for happiness and for the life well-lived. IFAC's focus is on excellence and on bringing the arts into the lives of as many people as possible, especially the young.

Dr Handa is an extraordinary artist himself, across a range of disciplines: painting, calligraphy, musical performance, and drama. He has exhibited and performed in Japan and internationally over many years. His experience and excellence as an artist, and his ability to communicate his art in its various forms to audiences around the world, have underpinned IFAC's approach to grant-giving.

In the UK one particularly noteworthy IFAC projects which exemplifies Dr Handa's philosophy is the support the orgainisation has given to the Richard Alston Dance Company, Britain's leading contemporary dance organisation. The project emphasises bringing great art and culture to the people.

It has been a privilege to have worked with Dr Handa as a trustee of IFAC UK, and on behalf of the many thousands and thousands who have benefited from his generous support for the arts in the UK and in other countries, I take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude.

Sir Tim Lankester
IFAC UK Chairman

from IFAC UK Trustee Dr Haruhisa Handa

It is my firm conviction that both the civilisation and culture of the 21st century are reaching beyond the borders of art, religion, welfare, economics, politics and other realms. The current times are particularly characterised as an age of economics, and in recent years corporate patronage of the arts and culture has expanded greatly. In addition to being actively involved on the economic front, I have conducted detailed research into the best means of contributing to the creation of a welfare culture which transcends the genre-based barriers of economics, art, welfare, religion and politics.

On a related note, the existence of the Noh theatre as a modern-day art form is largely due to the achievements of Zeami, a playwright who perfected Noh as a performing art. But behind him we can find Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, the Shogun who discovered, extolled and patronised Zeami. Yoshimitsu studied the art of choral chanting practiced by Buddhist priests at the head temple of Mount Hie. He went on to attain a calibre of musical and artistic expertise in this area which enabled him to perform these chants as a soloist. It took a man of great culture to recognise the true value of Zeami's genius. In Europe the Renaissance flourished under the support of the Medici Family, the Fugger family and other enlightened patrons. In order for artists to be discovered and patronised, one must have the ability to discover such talent and recognise its importance. Having studied the Noh, I hold credentials as official instructor of the Hosho School of Noh, and also preside over a branch of the Toshu Hoshokai discipline. A deeper understanding has been obtained of the outstanding merits of traditional Japanese performing arts, Kabuki, Japanese dance, small and large hand drums, regular barrel-shaped drums, and the flute and other disciplines originally derived from the Noh theatre.

It can be said that there are countless artists and art works that possess elements of greatness, and shining a light on that greatness is the only real key to ensuring the sustained advancement of global arts and culture. In that sense, financial backing alone cannot be defined as genuine support. Likewise, simply handing out awards and paying homage to fine achievements is also not appropriate.

The first step in this process, rather, is to put such stellar elements into practice on one's own, striving to understand them. Efforts must be made to have as many people as possible understand the beauty and importance of art. It would be wonderful to see as many members as possible of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture take lessons in the arts and participate in public presentations and performances of their arts.

We often use the term 'art therapy' but if we actually participate in the arts, the arts will bestow on us motivation, courage, and a reason for living, and the older we get, the richer our lives will become. Earnest support for the arts from individuals who have embraced creative pursuits in their own lives represents the most vigorous and enduring form of patronage available. A life lived in conjunction with the arts will always be full of self-advancement, concentration, fulfilment and happiness. What is wrong with an ageing society? What is wrong with old age? Death, if you wish to come, come anytime! This is the spirit of the artist that I bring to my own life: the desire to remain forever youthful and vibrant, even as I age, and this is also the source of my own earnest devotion to the study and practice of the arts.

Dr Haruhisa Handa
IFAC UK Trustee